In order to reduce CO2 emissions in France's major cities, the most environmentally damaging vehicles are now banned from driving in certain urban areas called Low Emission Mobility Zones (ZFE-m). Vehicles not registered in France must also display an ecological sticker called Crit'Air. Here is an overview of the regulations in force to ensure that you have a peaceful holiday.
What is the Crit'Air sticker?
The certificate is a round sticker that corresponds to a class of vehicle defined according to the emissions of atmospheric pollutants. There are 6 categories of certificates, each with a different colour, to encourage the least polluting vehicles.
The Crit'Air sticker concerns all vehicles: private cars, two-wheelers, tricycles and quadricycles, light commercial vehicles and heavy vehicles including buses and coaches. Once acquired and affixed to the vehicle's windscreen, the sticker is valid for the entire life of the vehicle.
Which zones require a Crit'Air sticker?
The Crit'Air certificate is only compulsory in certain zones. In Paris, the sticker is compulsory within the perimeter of the A86 motorway from Monday to Friday, from 8am to 8pm, except on public holidays.
Several large cities have also set up low emission mobility zones. The agglomerations concerned are: Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Toulouse, Nice, Montpellier, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Rouen, Reims and Saint-Étienne. From 2025, all cities and agglomerations with more than 150,000 inhabitants will be required to introduce a Low Emission Mobility Zone.
What are the regulations in force?
Since 1 January 2023, all Crit'Air 5 vehicles or vehicles without a sticker have been subject to traffic restrictions in Low Emission Zones. In some cities, Crit'Air 4 vehicles are also affected. Several cities also offer passes to allow occasional drivers to visit the city centre a limited number of times during the year.
Here is a summary of the measures in force (or soon to be introduced) in each of France's 11 Low Emission Zones:
- In Paris and the Greater Paris area, the traffic ban on Crit'Air 3 cars will apply on 1 July 2023 (in addition to Crit'Air 4, 5 and non-classified vehicles already subject to restrictions).
- In Lyon, Crit'Air 5 and non-classified private vehicles are now affected by the traffic restrictions. Crit'Air 4, 3 and 2 vehicles will be progressively restricted between 2024 and 2026.
- In Marseille, Crit'Air 4 cars will be banned on 1 September 2023.
- In Toulouse, all Crit'Air 4, 5 and non-classified vehicles are affected by the traffic restrictions from 1 January 2023.
- In Strasbourg, Crit'Air 4 and 5 vehicles are banned from driving in the ZFE-m perimeter.
- In Nice, Crit'Air 5 and non-classified passenger cars are concerned by the restrictions since 1 January 2023.
- In Montpellier, Crit'Air 5 and non-classified vehicles are not allowed to drive since 1 January 2023.
- In Grenoble, the ban on Crit'Air 5 vehicles in the Low Emission Zone will take effect on 1 July 2023.
- In Rouen, all vehicles with a Crit'Air 4, 5 or non-classified sticker cannot be driven since 1 September 2022. A tolerance is
motorised two-wheelers, tricycles and quadricycles until 31 August 2023.
- In Reims, the ban concerns Crit'Air 4 and 5 vehicles from 1 January 2023.
- In Saint-Etienne, private vehicles and two-wheelers are not affected by the restrictions.
In addition, additional traffic restrictions may apply during pollution peaks.
For more information on the Low Emission Zones, travellers are invited to consult the government's website (External link)
How do I get a Crit'Air sticker?
French or foreign motorists can order the sticker online on the website of the Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition (the only official site authorised to issue them, beware of scams! ): https://certificat-air.gouv.fr (External link)
The cost is €3.70 plus postage. The estimated delivery time is 5 to 10 days.
Please note that offending vehicles will be fined 68€ for a private car and 135€ for a coach.
More information on the official website of the Crit'Air certificate: https://www.ecologique-solidaire.gouv.fr/certificats-qualite-lair-critair (External link) (available in English, German, Italian, Spanish).